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A 41-year-old member asked:

Why do lymph nodes swell up?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Daquino
Sports Medicine 22 years experience
Immune System HQ: The lymph nodes can be thought of as outposts for white blood cells. When there is an infection or inflammation in the area where a lymph node is draining fluid from, the white blood cells start to build up to fight it. This causes swelling in that node.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Michael Miller
Wound care 37 years experience
Monitoring Centers: Lymphatic system absorbs/carries things too big to go into the arteries/veins like bacteria eaten by white cells and digested food. Lymph nodes "taste" the lymph for anything bad like bacteria, viruses, cancers, etc. When it detects a problem, it alerts the immune system and your body reacts. They enlarge in response to the inflammation they create when they react. They shrink when all is well.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Similar questions

A 34-year-old member asked:

What could lead to my lymph nodes to swell?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Christopher Ferguson
Orthopedic Surgery 20 years experience
Many possibilities: There are too many possible causes to give you a reliable answer. I recommend you see your doctor for an evaluation.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Tampa, FL
A 57-year-old female asked:

What causes lymph nodes to swell?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Francine Yep
Family Medicine 32 years experience
Sink traps: Lymph nodes are sink traps for our bodies. If you have infection or inflammation somewhere, your friendly hardworking lymph nodes will catch bits, work on it, & swell. They may feel tender. They may not hurt at all. Example: common cold & swollen neck lymph nodes. See your doc if you're concerned, if there's not an obvious neighborhood reason why your nodes are swollen, if it's more than 3-4 weeks.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 42-year-old member asked:

Why might it be that my lymph nodes swell and then shrink?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Michael Miller
Wound care 37 years experience
Monitoring Centers: The lymphatic system absorbs and carries things too big to go into the arteries and veins like bacteria eaten by white cells and digested food. The lymph nodes "taste" the lymph to see if anything bad is there like bacteria, viruses, cancers, etc. When it detects a problem, it alerts the immune system and your body reacts. They enlarge in response to the inflammation they create when they react.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 41-year-old member asked:

Why do lymph nodes swell and cause pain?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Sparacino
Family Medicine 38 years experience
See below: They react to infection by enlarging.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 34-year-old member asked:

Why would posterior lymph nodes swell?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Michael Miller
Wound care 37 years experience
Monitoring Centers: Lymphatic system absorbs/carries things too big to go into the arteries/veins like bacteria eaten by white cells and digested food. Lymph nodes "taste" the lymph for anything bad like bacteria/viruses/cancers, etc. When it detects a problem, it alerts the immune system and your body reacts. They enlarge in response to the inflammation they create when they react. They shrink when all is well.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Related questions

A 33-year-old member asked:
Does spicy food cause lymph nodes to swell?
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A 30-year-old member asked:
Will having boils cause the lymph nodes to swell?
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A 42-year-old member asked:
Do lymph nodes swell if there are cancerous swells near them?
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A 31-year-old member asked:
For what reasons might deodorant make your lymph nodes swell?
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A 49-year-old member asked:
Can lymph nodes swell in reaction to sunburn or sun poisonsing?
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Last updated Nov 2, 2019
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Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.